1. Jesus Montero - No surprise here. Montero showed all the advertised abilities. His power stacks up with anyone I scouted during the year. He's only rivaled by Florida's Michael Stanton. It won't be long until he's ready for big league action, and his defensive issues are vastly overblown.
2. Manny Banuelos - He may be the most mature pitcher for his age in the minor leagues. But, as much as he should be known for that maturity and pitchability, his stuff does not get nearly enough credit. There were very few lefties with any kind of command around in the minors in 2009 that could match Banuelos' raw stuff. Southpaws with low-90s fastballs and two quality secondary pitches do not grow on trees. It's about time he got credit for not only having an above average feel for pitching but for having outstanding stuff as well.
3. Austin Romine - Consistent, hard contact is what you look for in a young hitter. That's what you get from Romine. He hits the ball hard to all parts of the field. The power still has some progress to make, as his home run totals are currently more of a product of his consistent solid contact. The lift will come in due time. Romine handled the pitching staff very well for a player of his age, and while he has some adjustments to make on his footwork, he has the raw skills to be an above average defender.
4. Hector Noesi - Noesi was the most pleasant surprise to me among Yankee prospects in 2009. Reports from 2008 read that Noesi struggled to find a go-to secondary pitch and hadn't mastered his curveball. That description proved to be out of date. Along with his 90-94 mph fastball, Noesi flashed an above average curveball, and the tightness and command seemed to improve as the game went on. In general, he seemed to be more sharp by the middle to late innings of his outings. This is a guy that could be a number three type starter at the next level and could move quickly from here on out. He's a prime example of how a player's profile can change in a hurry.
5. Kelvin De Leon - Another guy that proved to be just about as advertised, De Leon showed tools galore in 2009. At the same time, it's also true that there are a lot of rough edges that need smoothing. He makes a lot of mistakes and he's inconsistent from at-bat to at-bat. With patience, however, he has impact type skills especially from an offensive standpoint.
6. Corban Joseph - You look for players that show a knack at the plate, and finding that distinct feel for hitting is the most difficult tool to spot. Joseph looks to have that tool. He takes his batting practice and at-bats very seriously, and has a better plan than most players at his level. We'll see how the power develops, but his compact swing and professional approach bode well for his future.
7. Andrew Brackman - You won't find many that would rank Brackman this low. But, based on multiple outings scouted, he has a long way to go to restore his prospect status. And, it was evident that if he has a big league future, it should probably be in the bullpen. By mid-season, Brackman was sitting 87-92 mph with the fastball and struggling mightily to even get his curveball near the plate. He looks to have a lot of discomfort with his mechanics and major difficulties repeating his delivery. We know his stuff and velocity can be better than this but he's got a long way to go to gain any semblance of consistency with his command.
8. Brett Marshall - You have to love the potentially electric stuff but there were a lot of things to work on for Marshall. He showed a fastball at 92-96 mph, but he routinely struggled with his breaking ball. The changeup graded out as an average offering at 79-84 mph. The velocity appeared to come easy but command and secondary pitches are clearly an issue.
9. David Phelps - The stuff isn't going "wow" anyone, but Phelps doesn't have lackluster stuff either. You need to look at the full package to appreciate him. His command is above average, the fastball sits around 89-92 mph, touching 93-94 every so often, and he commands his off-speed pitches. Not a lot will jump off the paper but he is someone that could fit in the back end of a big league rotation.
10. Melky Mesa - Mesa is a high risk/high reward prospect, and definitely one worth keeping tabs on. The athleticism, power, and speed are all there. But, there is some length to his swing and inconsistency in his approach. He is not far from turning his tools into game useable weapons and he made big strides in 2009. But, he still has many vulnerabilities at the plate he'll need to patch up.
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